Saturday, January 31, 2015

Six Months of Freedom: Documentary from Ukraine

Our thoughts continue to be with our friends, colleagues, and alumni in Ukraine.

Professor Kelley is currently in Kyiv, Ukraine teaching a short course in negotiations and meeting with colleagues there.  He sent us a link to a documentary film project that is a pro bono initiative of the Inyurpolis Law Firm (ILF), a law firm that he is affiliated with as a consultant. ILF is based in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The project is called Six Months of Freedom, and they released the first of a series of independent films that will be produced. The project's stated objective is "to create an information platform free from politics and vested interest of media moguls, as well as to develop independent media and documentary films."

This first film tells the stories of the doctors and nurses of the Kharkiv military hospital, the Kharkiv volunteers, and the injured Ukrainian soldiers.  Professor Kelley describes the documentary as providing "a look at the war that you will not see elsewhere."

We were moved by the documentary, and it is posted here for your review.  Note that it is in Ukrainian, with English subtitles. Many of the images and the human spirit depicted transcend language.



Monday, January 26, 2015

Visiting Prof Bill Marler Featured in the New Yorker Magazine

This week's New Yorker Magazine contains an important article on food safety, A Bug in the System, Why Last Night's Chicken Made You Sick.  While the article discusses salmonella bacterial contamination of chicken and our regulatory system, it is also a tribute to our visiting professor, Bill Marler. It describes his practice, his entry into the food safety litigation world, and the incredible influence that he has had.

Consider the following excerpt from the article -
Robert Brackett, who directed food safety at the F.D.A. during the George W. Bush Administration, told me that Marler has almost single-handedly transformed the role that lawsuits play in food policy: “Where people typically thought of food safety as this three-legged stool—the consumer groups, the government, and the industry—Bill sort of came in as a fourth leg and actually was able to effect changes in a way that none of the others really had.” Hagen [former head of USDA FSIS] said the cost that Marler extracts from food makers “can be a stronger incentive or disincentive than the passing of any particular regulation.” Mike Taylor [highest food safety official at the FDA] called litigation such as Marler’s “a central element of accountability.”
Bill teaches a 1-credit class for us most years, flying in and teaching for 2 full days without any compensation. This year, he is flying in with his law partner, Denis Stearns and will be here February 23-24. We are grateful for his support and all looking forward to his visit.

Vade Donaldson, Food Access Programs Manager, Washington State Farmers Market Association

We continue to receive updates on our Alumni. The good news continues, this time from LL.M. Graduate Vade Donaldson.

LL.M. Alumnus Vade Donaldson serves as the Food Access Programs Manager at the Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA). WSFMA is a state-wide membership association that supports 113 farmers markets across Washington. Each year, WSFMA holds an annual conference. This year, the conference, "Market Value: Healthy Communities & Thriving Farms", is in Olympia, WA on Feb. 6-8.

Vade reports that his work is focused on making it easier for beneficiaries of food assistance to shop at farmers markets across the state.  Much of this work is done through the "Regional Leads Program", which connects local government agencies and community nonprofits with farmers markets that serve low income communities using federal food assistance benefits.




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Emily Bridges Accepts Attorney Position With Arkansas Department of Human Services

We are pleased to report that our LL.M. alumna, Emily Bridges now serves as an Attorney Specialist with the Office of Chief Counsel for the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

In this new position, Emily will represent the agency in legal proceedings, conducting legal research and writing legal documents for use in litigation and providing legal assistance to the agency.  She will also be preparing the agency's legal briefs, motions, and other pleadings, analyzing and interpreting state and federal laws, advising the agency on potential legal issues and offering a legal opinion on actions the agency may take in resolving legal issues.  In addition, she may be called upon to draft proposed legislation, amendments to current legislation, and amendments to agency regulations.

We are excited for this new opportunity for Emily. We know she will represent the Department of Human Services with excellence.

Emily has her B.A. in Political Science, magna cum laude from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, her J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and her LL.M. in Agricultural & Food Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ben Thomas, Chief of Staff, USDA Farm and Foreign Ag Services

Ben Thomas LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law USDA Chief of Staff FFAS
At the end of December, 2014, LL.M. alumnus Ben Thomas joined the USDA as Chief of Staff for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.

Farm and Foreign Agricultural  Services

Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services "helps to keep America's farmers and ranchers in business as they face the uncertainties of weather and markets."  Agencies within Farm and Foreign Services include:
  • Farm Service Agency (FSA), the agency that  implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster and farm marketing programs through a national network of offices;
  • Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the agency that develops foreign market access for U.S. products, building new markets and improving the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace; and, 
  • Risk Management Agency (RMA), the agency that provides coverage through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, promoting national welfare by improving the economic stability of agriculture.

Before joining USDA, Ben served as Senior Advisor and Counsel to Senator John Walsh, where he was responsible for agriculture, telecommunication, and trade issues. Ben previously served as Legislative Assistant to Senator Max Baucus. As Mr. Baucus’ lead negotiator on the 2014 Farm Bill, Ben played a key role in development of the new farm programs. He also worked at USDA in various capacities at the Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency.

Ben received his B.A. from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, his Juris Doctor from Washington University in St. Louis, and his LL.M. in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He was raised on a family farm outside of Morton, Texas, where his father and brother still farm.

We are proud of the work Ben has done in Washington and wish him well in this new and important position at USDA. Congratulations, Ben.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

LLM Alum Blake Rollins Joins Senator Boozman's Staff

We are delighted to announce that Blake Rollins, an alumnus of the University of Arkansas Law School and the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law has joined Senator John Boozman's staff in Washington, D.C.

Blake will serve as a Legislative Assistant, advising the senator on agriculture and tax policies. The Senator's press release includes this comment from Blake,

“As an Arkansan, it’s an honor to work for Senator Boozman. He is dedicated to serving Arkansas every day, and I am excited to join his team.” 

And, Senator Boozman's statement,

“Blake is a great addition to my team. His connection to Arkansas and his unique understanding of agriculture and the policies that shape our state’s number one industry will benefit agribusinesses and producers.  I appreciate Blake’s dedication, hard work, enthusiasm and commitment to improving Arkansas.”

Before joining Senator Boozman's office, Blake served as counsel at the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture. Prior to his work on the committee, Rollins held clerkship and externship positions in the public and private sector, including serving as an extern at Wal-Mart in renewable energy and emissions.

Rollins earned his B.A. from Taylor University and his J.D. and LL.M. in Agriculture and Food Law at the University of Arkansas. He is a member of the Arkansas Bar.  Congratulations, Blake!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Aaron Thompson Appointed Assistant Attorney General, Arizona Department of Agriculture

Aaron Thompson, Assistant Attorney General 
I am pleased to report that one of our alumni, Aaron Thompson, now serves as Assistant Attorney General and Counsel to the Department of Agriculture for the state of Arizona. In addition to representing the Department, he also represents the Office of Pest Management and several state boards whose purpose relate to agriculture.

Aaron's duties include providing general agency advice, assisting in rule making, reviewing contracts, interpreting statutes and rules, reviewing potential administrative enforcement actions, advising on grant programs, attending board meetings, and assisting with open meeting law compliance. His work includes representing the agencies throughout administrative hearings and during litigation.

We are delighted to have Aaron in this important position and confident he will provide excellent representation.  Congratulations, Aaron.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Spring Semester Classes Offer Variety and Specialization


Each semester when we prepare the class schedule, I am amazed at the breadth of agricultural and food law as a discipline.  While some may think of it as a narrow specialty, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Spring Semester classes provide a clear example. 

Consider our Spring 20015 class offerings in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law: 



Environmental Regulation of Agriculture 

Examination of  the major federal environmental statutes applicable to agricultural operations with attention to current cases and controversies under those laws.  It also explores the regulatory authority and enforcement practices of the EPA and other agencies.


Regulated Markets in Agriculture 

Study of the economic regulation of specific sectors of the agricultural industry focusing on perishable agricultural commodities (fruits & vegetables), dairy products, and 
the Packers & Stockyards Act.


Agricultural Perspectives

Agriculture has a rich and varied history, and today’s issues are often best understood in the context of this history.  This course examines a wide range of social, environmental, and economic issues, considering their origin and how history is reflected in today’s policies. 


Food Safety Litigation

Special condensed course taught by the leaders in food safety litigation:  
Bill Marler and Denis Stearns of Marler Clark.


Farmed Animal Welfare Law

Examination of the legal issues involved in determining welfare standards for animals raised for food. In addition to introducing federal animal welfare and humane slaughter laws, state referenda, state law standards, and so-called “ag gag” laws are introduced.  


Selected Issues in Agricultural & Food Law 

This specialized class combines current legal and policy issues in a cohesive study. 
This semester our topic is Agricultural Business Issues.


Food Justice Law & Policy

Survey of the legal and policy issues raised by the food justice movement. Topics covered include food insecurity and poverty, public health concerns such as obesity, the economics of healthy eating, food deserts, and food waste.


Agricultural Labor Law

Study of the legal, social, and economic issues that arise from the extensive use of migrant labor in U.S. agricultural operations. Topics include agricultural exemptions from labor laws, the Migrant & Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, and agriculture’s reliance on undocumented workers.


Legal Issues: Indigenous Food & Agriculture 

Exploration of the complex interaction of tribal law, treaties, and federal agricultural and food laws, including property law applicable to tribal lands.


Global Food Security

Survey of the role of law and policy in affecting problems of global food security in the face of increasing population, changing diets, environmental pressures, and climate change.


Special Topics: Food Labeling  and Food Safety 

Advanced study of emerging issues in food labeling and food safety, building on what we covered in our Fall semester Food Law & Policy class. 


Agricultural Biotechnology

Study of the regulation of agricultural biotechnology, including the approval process for new technologies, the patenting of new products and technologies, and the 
restrictions associated with their use.


Intellectual Property for Agricultural & Food Products

Study of the intellectual property laws and treaties that apply to the identification of food and agricultural products.


Local/Regional Food Systems & the Law 

This course examines efforts to re-establish local and regional food systems and explores the attendant legal and policy issues.  Taught by nationally recognized agricultural and food law scholar, Neil Hamilton from Drake University Law School, this year's class will involve a look at land tenure issues, how access to farmland affects beginning farmers, and 
how land tenure affects our food system.






Monday, January 12, 2015

Lauren Bernadett Joins Somach, Simmons and Dunn

We are pleased to report that LL.M. Candidate Lauren Bernadett (Class of 2014) now serves as an attorney for Somach Simmons and Dunn, a Sacramento-based law firm that specializes in environmental, agricultural, and water law issues. Lauren's work will focus on water resources, water quality, natural resources, and agricultural resources. Congratulations, Lauren!

Lauren served as Graduate Assistant to the LL.M. Program while she was with us, with work that included posts to this blog, preparing the AALA 2013 Food Law Update, and co-authoring a chapter for an ABA book on urban agriculture (with Nicole Civita and Susan Schneider). She completed an independent study under the direction of Professor Allen Olson on the water rights doctrine of equitable apportionment, writing an article on current developments in the U.S. Supreme Court.

After the Program, Lauren was selected as a California Sea Grant Fellow with the California State Lands Commission (CSLC) in Sacramento.  We are delighted to have her now turn to private practice. Her clients will be well served.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

New Faculty Enhance the LL.M. Ag & Food Law Curriculum

The LL.M. Program is pleased to announce three new professors, adding to our network of agricultural and food law scholars and enhancing the opportunities available to our students.  

The LL.M. Program welcomes new instructors for our expanded curriculum in agricultural and food law


University of Arkansas Assistant Professor of Law Sara Gosman will be offering a new course in Environmental Regulation of Agriculture to LL.M. Candidates this spring. The course will examine the major federal environmental statutes applicable to agricultural operations with attention to current cases and controversies under those laws. It also explores the regulatory authority and enforcement practices of the EPA and other agencies.


Professor Gosman joined the Law School in 2014 and teaches and writes in the areas of environmental law, energy law and policy, and natural resources law.  Her research explores the ways in which uncertainty about risk creates both challenges and opportunities for policy, spanning such diverse topics as oil and natural gas development, children’s health and environmental justice, and water use in the Great Lakes region. She is an expert on the law and policy of hydraulic fracturing, and she has written on chemical disclosure as a response to uncertainty about environmental effects of the technique.

Prior to joining the University of Arkansas School of Law, Professor Gosman was a lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School. She taught courses in toxics, Supreme Court environmental litigation, environmental justice, and oil and gas law. She has also practiced as a water resources attorney at the National Wildlife Federation and as an assistant attorney general in the environmental division of the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

Professor Gosman received an A.B. with high honors from Princeton University and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where she was senior editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review. She also holds a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. She clerked for Chief Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the Northern District of California. She is currently the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Pipeline Safety Trust.


LL.M. Alumna and Assistant Counsel to the Inspector General at USDA, Amy Lowenthal will be joining the program this spring to teach a course in Agricultural Labor Law. In her role with USDA, she analyzes important legislative and regulatory issues that may impact the USDA and the Office of the Inspector General.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Lowenthal was Counsel on the Senate Committee for Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. She was one of the negotiators of the 2008 Farm Bill where her policy portfolio included civil rights, trade, and competition.  In this capacity, Ms. Lowenthal helped draft and negotiate provisions on contract protections for poultry growers,  farm bill provisions regarding the Pigford race discrimination litigation, protections for small and disadvantaged farmers, and the creation of the Office of Farmworker Coordinator.  Her expertise in agricultural labor issues includes work with California Rural Legal Assistance and a research project studying cross-border environmental policy at University of Guanajuato Law School in Mexico. Her final thesis for the LL.M. program was on the origins of OSHA's enforcement exemption for small farms.

Ms. Lowenthal has a B.A. in International Development/Geography from Clark University, an M.F.A from American Conservatory Theatre, a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, and her LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Ms. Lowenthal will be teaching the the Agricultural Labor Law course from Maryland.  The views expressed will not necessarily represent the views of OIG, USDA, or the United States.


Were also pleased to report that Martha Noble, a former University of Arkansas Professor of Law and member of our LL.M. program will be returning to teach a course in Agricultural Biotechnology.

Ms. Noble is a recognized leader in sustainable agriculture and agricultural law.  She previously taught Environmental Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law and also taught a variety of classes in the LL.M Program. She served as a Research Professor and Staff Attorney at the National Center for Agricultural Law when it was part of the law school, teaching environmental and land use courses in the J.D. Program and in the LL.M. Program.

Ms. Noble served for a number of years as a Senior Policy Associate with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington, D.C.  The Coalition is a nationwide alliance of sustainable agriculture, rural development, and environmental organizations.

She has been a leader in the Agricultural Management Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and has served on the Board of Directors of the Clean Water Network.  She has also served on the U.S. EPA’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee in two administrations.  Ms. Noble received her law degree from the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.  She will be teaching the Agricultural Biotechnology course from California.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Janie Hipp, LL.M. Alumna & Director of Indigenous Initiative Featured

Janie Hipp

Janie Hipp featured in Chickasaw Times article


This October, the University of Arkansas Alumni Association awarded Janie Simms Hipp, J.D., L.L.M., with a Citation of Distinguished Alumni award during the Arkansas Alumni Association’s 70th Annual Alumni Awards Celebration October 24. Janie's accomplishments were featured in the December issue of the Chickasaw Times.

Friday, December 5, 2014

LL.M. Courses Now Open to a Wider Audience


Agricultural & Food Law Curriculum now available to students and professionals outside of the University of Arkansas


We are pleased to announce that the LL.M. Program is now able to offer it's unique curriculum to an expanded body of individuals seeking to further their knowledge of agricultural and food law.

Since announcing our distance education opportunities, we have received a number of calls from students and attorneys who want to enroll in one or two courses without working toward a full LL.M. degree.  In response, we revised our policies to allow a limited number of special non-degree participants in our classes.

Who can take Agricultural & Food Law classes? 



First priority for all of our classes goes to our own LL.M. degree candidates.  We have always had a few spots in the class that were open to our Arkansas J.D. students and Arkansas graduate students. Beyond this, and subject to space-availability, we can now enroll a limited number of J.D. students from other law schools, practicing attorneys and other professionals, and graduate students in related fields from other Universities. This will expand the diversity of thought and the expertise of our students, enriching all of our classes. Regular Arkansas tuition applies, and in many instances the credits can be transferred back to the student's home program or presented for state CLE or other professional training certification.

Check the sidebar to the right for a list of classes that we will offer in the spring. Interested students and attorneys should contact the Program Administrator, Sarah Hiatt at sxh090@uark.edu for information on applying for admission and for our complete Spring class schedule. Spring semester classes begin the week of January 12, 2015.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Nicole Civita joins the Food Law Firm

The Food Law Firm announces their newest member "of counsel," Nicole Civita


Jason Foscolo
Nicole Civita
We are pleased to share the good news that LL.M. Visiting Assistant Professor and Food Recovery Project Director Nicole Civita has joined the Food Law Firm.

Nicole serves "of counsel" with our alumni Jason Foscolo and Lauren Handel.

Also serving of counsel is Michele Simon, a recent visiting lecturer to the LL.M. Program.


 Visit the Food Law Firm blog or Newsletter for more on Nicole's announcement.


Monday, November 24, 2014

UCLA Food Law & Policy Events: Alumnus Michael Roberts

The documentary Food Chains is in the news as it premiers across the country.  I was fortunate to have an opportunity to screen this thought-provoking new film when I attended the food law & policy events organized at UCLA by our alumnus, Michael Roberts.

Michael serves as the founding director of the Resnick Food Law & Policy Program at UCLA.  His program partnered with the Harvard Law School Food Lab to sponsor the conference, Transparency in the Global Food System: What Information and to What Ends?  The conference covered a full range of current and emerging topics and featured a keynote address by Dr. David A. Kessler, former Commissioner of the FDA and current professor at University of California, San Francisco Medical School.

Following the first day of the conference, we attended a private screening of Food Chains. After viewing the film, we were treated to a fascinating panel discussion of the film. Members of the panel included the Director, Sanjay Rawal. It was an inspiring evening, and the audience was fully engaged throughout.   The Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law provided us with copies of some of the photos from the event, and several are are included below.

Michael Roberts, LL.M. Alumnus and Director of the
Resnick Program for Food Law & Policy at UCLA School of Law,
Watching the Panel Discussion on Food Chains



LL.M. Director, Susan Schneider (with University of Wisconsin School of Law Professor Steph Tai)
engaged in the panel discussion of Food Chains

With Food Chains Director Sanjay Rawal and Producer Smriti Keshari

The second day of the conference featured a workshop on teaching Food Law & Policy.  Susan Schneider presented on the intersection of environmental law and food law & policy.  It was delightful to meet (in person) a number of the law professors who participate in the food law professors listserv that Professor Schneider developed and maintains.

Our congratulations to Michael for organizing such a successful event. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Butch Blazer from USDA Visits with LL.M. Candidates

Last Friday, we were honored to host USDA Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer for an informal discussion with the LL.M. class. He spoke about his work at the USDA, his passion for the land and our natural resources, and the need for future leaders, such as our students in the LL.M. Program to take up the challenge. It was an inspiring session, and we thank Janie Hipp, Director of the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative and a longtime friend to Butch, for arranging the visit.

Butch Blazer USDA Natural Resources and the Environment
Arthur "Butch" Blazer serves as USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment.

In 2003, Governor Bill Richardson appointed Butch as "State Forester" of New Mexico, the first Native American to hold that position. During his tenure as State Forester, Butch was also named as Chair of the Council of Western State Foresters and Co-Chair for the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. A member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Butch has been intimately involved in Tribal issues throughout his life.

Prior to his service as State Forester, he served 27 years in the department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs as a Range Management Specialist, Natural Resources Manager, and Agency Superintendent. Blazer is the former owner of Blazer Conservation Connections, a natural resources based consulting company that specialized in connecting clients with the resources needed to enhance and protect the environment. He is also a co-founder of the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, and has served on their Board of Directors and as the organization's National President. In 1998 Butch was elected, and served two consecutive terms, to the Mescalero Apache Tribal Council. An avid outdoors man when he can get to it, Blazer enjoys hunting, skiing and just "hiding-out" in the vast wilderness of his beautiful Mescalero Apache Reservation.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Professor Sam Halabi visits the LL.M. Program

Sam Halabi, Associate Professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law graciously agreed to visit our Food Law & Policy course today to introduce the class to the international food standards body, Codex, and present his latest article on the subject. An excerpt from Professor Halabi's bio is included below. His full bio is available on the University of Tulsa College of Law website. Our thanks to Professor Halabi.

Professor Halabi  is a scholar of national and global health law with a specialization in health services, pharmaceutical, and tobacco business organizations. Between 2008 and 2010, he served as a Fellow of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University researching the formation and implementation of international legal instruments regulating health-related policies of governments and businesses. In 2008, he advised the Presidential Health Care Policy Working Group on current and proposed approaches to international food and drug inspections. In 2010, Professor Halabi addressed a special committee of the United Nations on the relationship between decentralized health care systems and social inclusion as well as the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on Egypt's compliance with the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In 2014, he served as Director of the O’Neill Institute’s Summer Program on Emerging Issues in Food and Drug Law. His recent policy work focuses on identifying and minimizing legal barriers to global vaccine availability. He serves as an adviser to the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, vice-chair of the Food and Drug Law Journal editorial board as well as a referee for the journals Global Public Health and Health and Human Rights. His work is published or forthcoming in the American Journal of Law and Medicine, the Harvard International Law Journal, the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, the Michigan Journal of International Law, and the Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business, among others.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two New Native Food & Ag Publications Released

This is a reposting from the unofficial blog of the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law. The Initiative supports tribal governments and businesses in the food and agriculture sector through research, tech assistance, and special programs.
IFAI and First Nations Development Institute have jointly released two new publications that will prove valuable for Native American farmers, ranchers and food processors, as well as tribal policymakers. The reports, generously underwritten by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through funding to First Nations, are: "Why a Model Food and Agriculture Code is Needed in Indian Country" by Janie Simms Hipp, J.D., LL.M. (Chickasaw), Director of IFAI, and "Maneuvering Challenges: An Overview of Food Safety for Tribal Producers" by Vena A-dae Romero, J.D., L.L.M. (Cochiti/Kiowa), a graduate of the LL.M. (Master of Laws) program in Agriculture and Food Law at the University of Arkansas, and the first Native lawyer graduate of the program since the launch of IFAI.

The publications are free and available for download from First Nations’ Knowledge Center.  (Note: you may have to create a free account to download the reports if you don’t already have one.)

LL.M. Alumni develop Agricultural & Food Law Program

LLM Alumni Take Lead in Developing New Ag and Food Law Program in Maryland



       
We are pleased to report on the work of our LL.M. alumni in developing the excellent new agricultural and food law programs in Maryland. Since January of 2013, alumni Paul Goeringer has been a partner on the University of Maryland Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI). Paul has taken the lead on developing an Extension outreach program focused on the legal issues important to Maryland agriculture. Paul was recently joined on the Extension side by another LL.M. alum, Ashley Newhall.


ALEI was born out of the aftermath of a lawsuit involving the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and a Maryland poultry farmer. Three state institutions, University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, joined forces to identify the diverse legal needs of Maryland’s agriculture community. The initiative is working to fill the ag law void in the state of Maryland by publishing publications and research focused on land leasing, agricultural labor, estate planning, and the state’s unique right-to-farm law. ALEI also operates an Infoline where producers can call in, ask questions, and be directed to legal resources or an attorney if necessary.  

Paul brought Ashley on board last summer, and their team focuses on developing outreach tools that help the state’s agricultural community understand an ever-changing set of laws and regulations. “We do a little bit of everything from developing traditional Extension publications, speaking at a host of Extension and ag producer meetings, and running a blog focused developing and current legal issues in agriculture,” said Paul, “we also work on developing programs and materials to aid attorneys working on ag issues.” 

Since its creation, ALEI has helped to spur the formation of an agriculture law section of the Maryland State Bar and hosted the first AALA regional conference. “We had a really great regional conference,” said Ashley, “some of the major issues such as the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and the TMDL updates, drones flying over agriculture land, and the Farm Bill were all discussed in great detail...I couldn’t be more excited to be working on the initiative here in Maryland helping producers.”

To learn more about ALEI or just see what Ashley and Paul are working on or speaking at, check out the ALEI homepage at www.umaglaw.org. If you are curious about current legal issues impacting Maryland agriculture check out their blog at aglaw.umd.edu.

We wish Ashley and Paul continued success as they continue to work to build this distinctive agricultural and food law program serving the state of Maryland.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Allen Olson Teaches Condensed Course in Farm Programs / 2014 Farm Bill


Federal Farm Programs & Crop Insurance with Allen Olson


Allen Olson at Fayetteville Farmers' Market
Visiting LL.M. Professor Allen Olson returned to teach a condensed course on Federal Farm Programs and Crop Insurance. A longtime friend to the LL.M. Program and one of our alumni, Allen has taught a condensed course for us for a number of years. His ability to weave practice experience and academic rigor into the course is always appreciated. Allen maintains an agricultural law practice law in Albany, Georgia, representing farmers, ranchers and related businesses in Georgia and nationwide.  His work is concentrated on federal farm programs, crop insurance, business planning, and conservation easements.

During his visit, Allen was kind enough to participate in the filming of an LL.M. video currently under production. His expertise and long history with the program made him a perfect candidate for the production. Pictured above is a scene from the Fayetteville Farmers' Market.

Our sincere thanks to Professor Olson.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

LLM Candidate Hillary Renick Quoted in Indian Country Today

Tribal Heritage and Preservation



Hillary Renick, Tribal Heritage and Preservation Officer, Pomo Tribe
Hillary Rennick, one of this year's LL.M. candidates, was recently quoted in Indian Country Today.

Hillary serves as the the Tribal Heritage and Preservation Officer for the Sherwood Valley Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians.  The article, Tribes Say CalTrans Illegally Destroying Historical Sites for Bypass, written by Marc Dadagan, reveals a "documented violation of the National Historic Preservation Act regulations meant to protect tribal heritage and resources."  At issue is the construction of a 5.9 mile bypass around the Northern California town of Willits, with constructed undertaken by the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans).  The route goes through the ancestral home of many Pomo tribal members in the area.  At issue is not only the destruction of the area, but the tragic loss of artifacts.  The tribe is not attempting to stop the construction, but to assure that the tribe's history is protected.  As Hillary noted, "We’re only a couple generations from removal, and they’re destroying our time capsules that could give us snapshots of what happened and what wasn’t preserved through oral history.”  For more information, go to the full article at Indian Country Today.




Friday, November 14, 2014

LL.M. Alum Terry Centner receives Distinguished Service Award

Terry Centner

Congratulations to LL.M. Alum Terry Centner


We are pleased to share news of LL.M. Alum Terry Centners' recognition during the 2014 American Agricultural Law Association Conference. Professor Centner received the Distinguished Service Award for his many contributions to the AALA and to the agricultural community as a whole.

Terry is a Professor for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He teaches four law courses for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and serves as the pre-law advisor for students interested in law school. He helped to develop a minor in agricultural and environmental law for AG*IDEA, "a national consortium of universities offering programs and courses in agricultural disciplines," providing distance learning and coursework, to students. He teaches in this national program. For his lecture courses, Centner employs the Socratic method to develop the whole student. He structures his courses so that students prepare for class, answer questions written in his course text and learn how to analyze legal issues. He also injects ethics in to the classroom through questions about current events and group exercises. Centner has lectured at 17 foreign universities, taught as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Mannheim in Germany and has been named to the Fulbright-Scotland Visiting Professorship at the University of Aberdeen, where he will teach in the spring of 2015. As part of his research program, Centner works with undergraduate students on timely policy issues. In fact, seven students have co-written papers in refereed journals and one has co-authored a book chapter. Centner is the author of three books –"Empty Pastures," "Blame Culture" and "Environmental Law" – and served as president of the American Agricultural Law Association. Centner has published 56 law journal articles and 91 refereed articles in agricultural and environmental scientific journals. He has presented his research in more than 35 countries.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

David Grahn visits LL.M. Program

David Grahn returns to teach Agricultural Policy & the Federal Budget


This week, we were proud to welcome our good friend David Grahn who flew in from Washington, D.C. to teach a condensed course for us, Agricultural Policy and the Federal Budget.

David serves in the USDA Office of General Counsel as Associate General Counsel International Affairs, Food Assistance, and Farm and Rural Programs Division.  He represents the interests of a wide range of USDA entities: Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency / Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, Rural Development Agency, Rural Business Service, Rural Utilities Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, the Food and Nutrition Service, and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

David spent Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday in concentrated sessions with our LL.M. students, explaining complex aspects of agricultural policy development.  Much of the class was devoted to understanding how the federal budget drives policy development and how administrative law can be used strategically to affect policy outcomes.  It was a practical, real-world look at how agencies work, how political goals can best be met, and how money works in Washington.

The LL.M. students were delighted with the class. A special note that is a testimony to David's professionalism -  in order to avoid any possible conflict of interest, David volunteers his time to the LL.M. Program.  He takes vacation days, pays his own travel and stays with Christopher and Susan in their cabin in the Ozark Mountains. Their menagerie of dogs and cats also think he is just the greatest. Thanks, David. It's always a pleasure to have you with us.

Dr. Jeff Pettis discusses Pollinators and Colony Collapse Disorder with LL.M. Class

Dr. Jeff Pettis, one of the most widely respected experts on bee research recently joined the LL.M. Class for a discussion on pollinators and colony collapse disorder. With our new distance technology, Dr. Pettis was able to engage distance and face to face students alike in a robust Q & A session. Our thanks to Dr. Pettis.





Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Appreciation to our LL.M. Veterans

A special note of thanks to our veterans

Each year, we are proud to honor and to thank the military veterans that have attended the LL.M. Program over our 30 year history. Our thanks to all of our veterans for serving our nation so well.
 
This year, we extend our thanks to current L.L.M. Candidates Brian Mathison and S. Patrick Morin Jr. 
 
Brian Mathison is enrolled as a part time online candidate, while he serves full time as an Instructor in the Department of Chemistry and Life Sciences at the United States Military Academy, West Point. Brian's military experience includes: Administrative and Operational Law Attorney, Joint Special Operations Task Force, Afghanistan Trial Counsel, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Ft. Bliss, Texas Trial Counsel, Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Daegu, Korea Deputy Legal Advisor, Joint Task Force-North (JTF-N), Ft. Bliss, Texas Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA), Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Ft. Bliss, Texas Legal Assistance Attorney, Tax Center Officer-in-Charge.

 
S. Patrick Morin, Jr. is enrolled as a part-time online candidate and serves Of Counsel with Dickinson Wright PLLC in Michigan. Pat is a Board Member of the Veterans Bar Association and served as Captain in the United States Marine Corps. His awards include the Navy Commendation Medal, Iraqi Liberation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal, Sea Service Deployment Medal.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

LL.M. Alumni Elected to AALA Board of Directors

Alumni from the LL.M. Program at the University of Arkansas School of Law have always been active members of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA). This year, we have alumni serving with special distinction. We just reported that Beth Crocker was selected to be the AALA President-Elect. We are also pleased to announce that two of our alumni were elected to serve on the AALA Board of Directors.

Jeff Peterson and Jennifer Zwaggerman Elected to AALA Board of Directors


LL.M. alumni Jeff Peterson and Jennifer Zwaggerman were elected to serve on the AALA Board of Directors.

Jeff Peterson
Jeff Peterson is a shareholder with Gray, Plant Mooty, a law firm with offices in Minneapolis and St. Cloud, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. Jeff practices in the areas of commercial transactions, creditors’ rights, bankruptcy and agricultural law. He is the co-managing partner of the St Cloud office and the co-chair of the Commercial Financial Services practice group at Gray, Plant Mooty. Jeff is licensed in Minnesota and Kansas and is a past president of the business law section of the Kansas Bar Association. He is a frequent speaker and organizer of agricultural finance topics at the AALA annual meeting and is a member of the AALA communications committee.

Jeff was raised on a dairy farm in northwest Wisconsin. He was a commodity analyst and branch manager at the Kansas City trading office of Cenex Harvest States prior to going to law school at the University of Kansas. He has an LL.M. in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas. Jeff and his wife Stephanie have two kids under five that keep them busy.

Jennifer Williams Zwaggerman
Jennifer Williams Zwagerman is the Director of Career Development at Drake Law School and teaches agricultural and food law classes in the law school. She is a 2004 graduate of Drake Law School, where she received the Food and Agricultural Law Certificate and graduated with highest honors. She received her LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas and served for two years as a law clerk to Judge David Hansen, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. After completing her clerkship in 2007, she joined the Des Moines office of Faegre & Benson (n/k/a/ Faegre Baker Daniels) where she was an attorney in the general litigation group, with a national practice in food and agricultural law.  During her time at the firm, Jennifer extensively wrote and spoke on food and agricultural law-related issues. Jennifer spent the 2010-2011 school year at Drake as the Faegre & Benson Visiting Scholar, where she worked with students and taught courses focusing on her specialty: food and agricultural law. Jennifer served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law while in law school, and her LL.M. thesis was later published in the Spring 2009 edition of the Journal. She also co-authored a piece on the Food Safety Modernization Act that was published in the Hamline Journal of Public Law & Policy’s 2011 Food and Agricultural Law Symposium issue.  A member of AALA since 2001 when she was a first-year law student, she currently teaches courses in food and agricultural law and serves as Director of Career Development at Drake Law.  Jennifer has presented at several AALA conferences over the past decade and is currently a member of the AALA Communications Committee.  She is also actively involved in her state and county bar associations.

We are proud of our alumni's leadership in the AALA.  Congratulations, Jeff and Jennie.

LL.M. Alumna Beth Crocker Elected AALA President-Elect

Alumni from the LL.M. Program at the University of Arkansas School of Law have always been active members of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA). This year, we have alumni serving with special distinction.

American Agricultural Law Association Election Results:  AALA President-Elect Beth Crocker


We are pleased to announce that LL.M. Alumna Anne "Beth" Crocker was elected to serve as President-elect of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA).

Beth is the Assistant General Counsel for Clemson University in South Carolina. Her emphasis areas are: drafting state legislation and regulations; agricultural legal and regulatory issues; administrative law; state property leases; state contract and procurement review; Freedom of Information Requests; software license review; policy development and implementation; organization and management of associations and clubs.

Prior to joining Clemson University, Beht served for 10 years as General Counsel and Director of Legal Affairs for the S.C. Department of Agriculture (SCDA), including service as a Government Liaison for the agency and coordinating special projects such as:  SCDA liaison in the Statewide Farm to School program, emphasizing GAP certification for farmers, school gardens and serving local produce in school meals; coordinating partnerships with the University of SC and Clemson University to host on-campus Farmers Markets (2008 – 2013); coordinating the SC School Garden Program (2007 – 2013); SCDA Liaison and staff coordinator for the S.C. Food Policy Council (2005 – 2013) which hosted its first statewide Food Desert Workshop in 2012; partnering with the state Transportation and Tourism agencies to draft and support the recent passage of the Tourist Oriented Directional Signage (TODS) legislation;  State Milk Tax Credit program coordinator (2004-2013); and SCDA liaison in the Department’s partnership with Clemson University for the S.C. Commissioner’s School for Agriculture, a summer academic program for rising high school juniors and seniors interested in exploring careers in agriculture, forestry and natural resources (2004 – 2013).

Beth received her BS degree in pre-veterinary medicine from Clemson University, and then was drawn to agricultural law studies and received her  J.D. from Drake Law School. She then earned her LL.M. degree in agricultural law from our Program at the University of Arkansas.

Beth has been a member of the AALA since 1998 when she joined as a 1L in law school.  She has served on the awards committee and the communications committee, as well as serving on the Board of Directors from 2011-13.  Beth is also the recipient of the 2013 AALA Excellence in Agricultural Law award for her work in the Government practice area.

In her role as President-elect of AALA, Beth will be responsible for planning the 2015 AALA Educational Symposium, which coincidentally will be held in Charleston, South Carolina October 21 – 23, 2015.  The following year, she will serve as President of the AALA, and then serve on the board as Past-President for 2016-17.

When not working or serving AALA, Beth trains and shows her Boykin Spaniel, Jake and various competitive venues including hunt test, Rally, conformation and obedience.   Her retired Champion Gordon Setter accompanies them when she is not reigning the roost at home in Clemson, SC, along with Zeb the cat.

Congratulation, Beth.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Professor Civita Publishes "Agrarians Feeding Communities"

Professor Civita’s latest article, Agrarians Feeding Communities: Reconnecting Federal Farm Policy and Nutrition Assistance For a More Just Agri-food System was recently published in the Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review.

Agrarians Feeding Communities (i) surveys the promise of and the obstacles facing the diverse and diffuse food movement, (ii) examines the objectives of, problems with, and politics related to past and present federal farm and food policy, and (iii) explores opportunities for using federal policy to simultaneously support farmers, nourish the hungry, reward socially and ecologically responsible practices, generate economic opportunity, and strengthen communities.

This article strives to bridge the gap between federal farm policy and the food movement by identifying legitimate shared goals and looking for synergistic solutions. It recommends a holistic and coordinated approach to federal agricultural and nutrition policy based on the natural interconnectedness of producers and consumers. Finally, it advances substantial support for what Professor Civita has termed "responsible regional agriculture" through a market-based reform of nutrition assistance. With this piece, Professor Civita calls for scaling up the political relevance of the food movement, reframing the public debate around farm subsidies and nutrition assistance: "Rather than leveraging the interests of agriculture against the needs of the food insecure for political advantage or pitting big ag against its more idealistic little siblings, we need a call for federal policies that prioritize responsible regional agriculture, regardless of scale, and empower all consumers, regardless of their means."

In the words of John Secaras, the Editor-in-Chief of the NILR, Professor Civita’s coverage of our nation’s complicated food system and corresponding federal policy" as well as her "impressive research and commentary on the possibility of a reformed American food system add[] depth and ingenuity to th[e] growing field [of food policy] in a way that any reader can appreciate."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Martha Noble Presents on Agricultural Biotechnology & the Law

Martha Noble is presenting two special lectures for the LL.M. Program, speaking on Agricultural Biotechnology and the Law as part of our agricultural law survey class, Food, Farming & Sustainability.

Martha is a recognized leader in sustainable agriculture and agricultural law.  She previously taught Environmental Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law and also taught a variety of classes in the LL.M Program. She served as a Research Professor and Staff Attorney at the National Center for Agricultural Law when it was part of the law school.

Martha served for a number of years as a Senior Policy Associate with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in Washington, D.C.  The Coalition is a nationwide alliance of sustainable agriculture, rural development, and environmental organizations.

She has been a leader in the Agricultural Management Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and has served on the Board of Directors of the Clean Water Network.  She has also served on the U.S. EPA’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee in two administrations.

Martha received a law degree from the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.  She recently relocated to California, and she will be teaching a full course in Agricultural Biotechnology& the Law next semester. We are honored and delighted to have her back on our faculty.

Michele Simon, author of Appetite for Profit visits the LL.M. Class for Q&A session


Students in the LL.M. Food Law & Policy class were recently joined by Michele Simon, a well known public health lawyer with a specialization in the food industry and food politics. Michele is the author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back, published by Nations Books, 2006.  She provides legal services to food and beverage companies, working "of counsel" with our alumni Jason Foscolo and Lauren Handel at Foscolo and Handel PLLC, The Food Law Firm.

Michele's visit capped off the Public Health and Food Law Unit in the Food Law & Policy class. The class was treated to a thought-provoking and at times provocative consideration of our food system. Our thanks to Michele for a great class.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Food & Agriculture Reporter Helena Bottemiller Evich visits LL.M. Class

Helena Bottemiller Evich, a food and agriculture reporter for Politico Pro joined the LL.M. Class via video conference from Washington D.C. for a special session of the Food, Farming & Sustainability class.

Before joining POLITICO, Helena spent four years reporting on food politics and policy at Food Safety News, where she covered Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While at Food Safety News, she worked with our LL.M. Marler Clark Graduate Assistants.  Helena's work has also appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review and on NBC News.

During the LL.M. class, Helena discussed agricultural law developments and her work as an agricultural and food reporter. Thanks to Helena for an interesting and informative class.


AALA Recognizes Janie Hipp with Excellence in Agricultural Law Award

Congratulations are in order for LL.M. Alumna Janie Simms Hipp. Professor Hipp was recognized during the American Agricultural Law Associations annual conference with an Excellence in Agricultural Law Award.

The purpose of the Excellence in Agricultural Law Award is to recognize AALA members for outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the agricultural community. The AALA Awards Committee may select up to four awardees annually, with the goal of recognizing one member in each of four AALA membership areas:

· Private practice/corporate
· Academia
· Government
· Non-governmental organization

Janie was recognized for her work in the Government category, having served as Senior Advisor to Secretary Vilsack for Tribal Relations during her time at USDA. Her former positions at USDA included Director of the Risk Management Education Division and National Program Leader (NPL) for Risk Management Education (RME), Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers and Fishermen, Farm Financial Management, and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program for USDA's National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

In the 1990s, she worked with the National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information at the University of Arkansas School of Law, serving as staff attorney, Associate Director, and Interim Director.  She taught within the University of Arkansas higher education system, teaching a variety of agricultural, environmental, administrative law, and environmental justice courses for the College of Agriculture, the College of Geosciences, Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, the Honors College and the School of Law (in the LL.M. Program).
 
Janie is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. She is co-founder of the Intertribal Native Women and Youth in Agriculture organization. 

Professor Hipp currently serves as the Director of the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Janie was nominated for the award by Professor Susan Schneider, Director of the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law and William H. Enfield Professor of Law. The LL.M. Program and the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative honored Janie with a small ceremony recognizing her accomplishments. Dean Stacy Leeds and visiting Professor David Grahn were on hand to congratulate Janie. David Grahn, a long time friend to the LL.M. Program, and visiting Professor of Law was in Fayetteville to teach a very popular condensed course in Agricultural Policy and the Federal Budget. David is the Associate General Counsel for Rural Development at the USDA.

Janie has worked for her entire professional life in agricultural law, serving in many different capacities. And, she has been involved in AALA every step of the way. Congratulations Janie.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

EPA Recognizes Food Recovery Project with Achievement Award

EPA Gives University Achievement Award for Food Recovery
Posted on October 20, 2014

The University of Arkansas continues to receive accolades and recognition for its pioneering work on food waste prevention and food recovery promotion. The university recently received a 2013 Achievement Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency in connection with the agency’s Food Recovery Challenge. Ron Curry, EPA Region 6 Administrator, presented the award certificate to Carlos Ochoa, director of the Office for Sustainability, at the Arkansas Recycling Coalition Conference.

The EPA praised the university for its tenacity in confronting and conquering barriers to food recovery, its practical effectiveness in implementing food recovery on campus, its leadership in modeling and facilitating food recovery engagement, and its collaborations with area food businesses to promote sustainable food waste management practices in Arkansas. 



Carlos Ochoa (L) and Nicole Civita (R) receive the 2013 EPA Achievement Award

As Ochoa emphasized in his acceptance remarks, the university’s advances in sustainable food management practices have resulted from collaboration among various units and stakeholders on campus: The Office of Sustainability has made food waste reduction and food recovery an institutional priority in line with its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The School of Law’s Food Recovery Project has provided the legal information and expertise needed to allay concerns about potential liability and insure that the university’s food recovery efforts are safe and effective. The School of Social Work and the Department of Political Science of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Science also brought attention to the twin problems of food waste and hunger and the importance of food recovery at its inaugural Food Justice Summit in Nov. 2013.

The university’s efforts are bolstered by its students who recover food from its dining halls and retail food establishments and who founded and operate Razorback Food Recovery as one of the Volunteer Action Center’s flagship programs. Food recovery would also be impossible without the cooperation of the dining services provider, Chartwells, and its staff, who set aside and donate wholesome unsold food at the end of the day for donation to the campus Full Circle Food Pantry and other emergency food programs in Fayetteville.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nicole Civita presents on Food Justice at Conference in Wyoming

Visiting Assistant Professor Nicole Civita delivered several well-received presentations on food justice, food insecurity, food waste and recovery at the 2014 Consumer Issues Conference — Food: Policies, Perceptions, & Practices.  During her brief trip to Laramie, Wyoming, Professor Civita delivered a thought-provoking lunchtime plenary address that explored food justice and the power and limits of consumer-driven reform.  She also contributed to two panel discussions regarding food waste and recovery and served as a feature discussant after a screening of the documentary, A Place at the Table.

The Consumer Issues Conference is an interdisciplinary project organized by several University of Wyoming. Colleges, including Law, Agriculture, Health and Business and supported by outside partnering organizations, including Colorado State University Extension and the Wyoming Department of Health. This annual conference is “designed to focus on public policy issues affecting consumers and the consumer marketplace, and to inspire people to be active in bringing about change in the legal and market environment.” In its 14th year, the conference put a spotlight on food — a product which every consumer requires multiple times a day. Conference organizers, speakers and attendees investigated and engaged in a lively dialog about a broad range of consumer issues related to food including food insecurity, food marketing, advertising, labeling, and grading, nutrition and health, food safety, food waste, and the relative geographic span of food systems.

During her plenary address, Choosing Food Justice, Professor Civita sought to synthesize the wide range of issues that relate to food and to view them through the lens of busy, hungry consumers juggling the many demands of modern life. She surveyed the scope of food justice as a discipline and a movement, explored the personal, market-driven, and legal dimensions of food choice, and identified specific areas where advocates for a more equitable food system can productively engage with the law and press for reform.  

Representing our Food Recovery Project, Nicole illustrated the magnitude of America’s food waste problem and situated this problem next to our growing and unacceptable food insecurity problem in the piktochart titled Wasted: The Consequences of Undervaluing Food | Piktochart Infographic Editor.

She then suggested food recovery as an elegant way to address both issues, taught attendees about the legal protections for food businesses and non-profits who engage food recovery and charitable feeding, and introduced several remaining legal drivers of food waste and obstacles to food recovery.

Professor Civita was delighted to connect with many articulate advocates for and visionary contributors to a more just, health-promoting, and sustainable food system at the conference including the Administrator of the USDA’s Food & Nutrition Service, Audrey Rowe, Consumer’s Union Senior Scientist, Dr. Michael Hansen, and Director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Liaison Office for North America, Nicholas Nelson. The LL.M. program is excited to report that these luminaries have accepted our invitation lecture to our students via video-conference in the near future, allowing us to continue leveraging our new technologically-enhanced classroom and distance education capacity to connect our candidates with leading experts in agricultural and food law, policy & practice.

Nicole extends her appreciation and gratitude to the organizers of the conference, and especially to Professors Dee Pridgen & Virginia Vincenti, for putting together such a well-thought out conference, encouraging dialog at the nexus of food system and consumer related issues, and being wonderful hosts.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Janie Hipp Participates in White House Discussion on Women in Agriculture


Our colleague, Janie Hipp (Chickasaw), Director of the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative participated in a dialogue at the White House on the future of women in agriculture.

Participants were welcomed by Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Harden of USDA and Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.  In attendance were representatives from agribusinesses, universities, youth organizations, and nonprofit organizations, all discussing barriers women face in the agricultural sector.

For full details on this important opportunity, see A Week of Celebrating Native #WomeninAg on the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative blog.




Monday, October 13, 2014

Special Event: Indigenous Peoples of the Americas Day

Today, Monday October 13th, The Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative is co-sponsoring Indigenous Peoples of the Americas Day. Featured speakers include Law School Dean Stacy Leeds, and LL.M. Candidate Hillary Renick. The Initiative is operated under the direction of LL.M. Alumna Janie Simms Hipp.  The event will take place on campus in the Arkansas Union with a full event schedule concluding with a screening and discussion of the film "Ramona". Information on the days events is included in the flyers below.

Be sure to join the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/283412270077/
and add Native American Student Association at  https://www.facebook.com/nasa.uark?fref=ts